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Port Hardy to Tofino

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Ipswich, United...
posts: 2
Port Hardy to Tofino

We're arriving in Victoria on 16th October and plan to drive up to Port Hardy/Telegraph Cove (?) for 2 days then travel to Tofino/Ucluelet for 5 days. Would welcome suggestions on route and whether we should drive from Tofino to Victoria to catch the ferry back to Seattle (and then back to London) or whether it would be better to fly? I appreciate that we're likely to get a lot of rain and wondered if it would be better to stay less time in Tofino/Ucluelet and head nearer to Victoria for the final 2 days?

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 16,310
reviews: 53
1. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

Well, you don't really have any route options for this. There's one road up the east side of the island (although the old highway, 19C (?) is a slower, more scenic option for part of it). How many days do you plan to take over the drive? Most visitors from the UK start to balk at drives of more than 5 or 6 hours, but if you are up for it, you can certainly get to Port Hardy in one long day.

Where are you arriving in Victoria FROM? Are you flying in from somewhere, or are you taking the ferry across from the mainland. If you are coming by ferry, then it makes more sense to get the ferry to Nanaimo and save yourselves a couple of hours of driving.

By two days, I assume you mean three nights? And then 5 days means six nights in Tofino? You might want to give yourselves one more day on the north island, or use that night to break up the drive a bit.

Are you bringing a car across from the US or are you renting it on the island?

Actually, need a fair bit more info about your whole itinerary in order to help you out here.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 37,857
reviews: 54
2. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

The rain in Tofino will be just as wet as the rain in Victoria, perhaps more interesting actually.

As V67 says, it's a bit hard to get a good idea of your plans. How many nights have you got altogether? Which ferry back to Seattle?

If you are going to Telegraph Cove to whalewatch and do a grizzly bear tour, I would suggest 3 nights.

I would suggest you reduce Tofino to 3 nights.

If you have enough nights to play with you could stay at Nanaimo, Parksville, Campbell River or Courtenay for 1 night on the way up Island. Whichever one appeals to you the most. Choose another location for splitting the drive from Telegraph Cove to Tofino.

I think flying back to Seattle would be a personal choice.

Here is a map of the routes available to you:


Port McNeill
posts: 390
reviews: 1
3. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

There won't be any scheduled bear or whale watching tours on the north end of the Island in mid-October. Most tours end in late September or early October.

Destination Expert
for Vancouver Island
posts: 2,384
reviews: 102
4. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

With reference to Vancouverite's question mark about the highways...Hwy 19 A is the "old" Island Highway (scenic route). Hwy 19 is the Inland Island Hwy (freeway). 19A runs between Campbell River and Parksville.


Vancouver, Canada
posts: 16,310
reviews: 53
5. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

Thanks Island West - I COULD have stopped and looked it up, but I figured someone who knew would sort it out. :>

Ipswich, United...
posts: 2
6. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

thank you all for your replies, very kind and much appreciated. A 6 hr drive is not off-putting as we have travelled in bc before. We're arriving in Seattle on the Coast Starlight and wanted to spend a week on the island arriving via the Clipper ferry. As it will be late October we had anticipated no whale watching and have been fortunate to spend a week bearing watching in the Kootenays. The rationale behind staying in Tofino is that simply that we've been told that this is a nicer location, so were allowing ourselves 2 nts up north and 5 nts on the west coast. I had wondered if there would be any less rainfall further south, but it sounds as if this is a 'six and two threes' scenario. The main reason for going to the island is to relax and have an easy time, not have too many different overnights and we would prefer to stay in cabin accommodation. i'll have another look at the map for an overnight en route to or from Tofino - the flights from Tofino to Victoria are $200 pp so will stick with the driving :-)

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 7,550
reviews: 91
7. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

A nice overnight between Victoria and Tofino would be Qualicum. Another option instead of driving up island would be to do the Pacific Marine Circle Route and do an overnight or 2 at Point No Point. and then continue on to Tofino..... and yes there should be less rain at the south end of the island as opposed to Telegraph Cove and Tofino..Vicotria and Sidney are usually drier.

8. Re: Port Hardy to Tofino

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